Discovery is widening the scope of its streaming service plans, although it might not be great news for nature buffs. The network has unveiled a deal with BBC Studios that will see the BBC’s history, nature and science documentaries form one of the “pillars” of a Discovery streaming service due to launch by 2020. On top of that, the service will be the exclusive streaming home for BBC nature docs outside of the UK, Ireland and China, including series like Blue Planet, Life and Planet Earth — it’s not clear what will happen with existing titles on sites like Netflix, but you might not want to count on them sticking around.
The two ave also struck a deal to create original fact-based shows for both conventional TV and digital, complete with a dedicated team at BBC Studios. It’s effectively a revival of an earlier alliance that produced shows like Planet Earth.
While the pact could help Discovery’s service become a go-to destination for documentary fans, it also risks adding to the mounting issue of subscription fatigue. When customers have to sign up for an ever-growing number of streaming services to cover everything they want to watch, there’s a chance they’ll balk when there’s one more added to the pile. That’s particularly true if a service is taking control of content that used to be available through a catch-all provider like Netflix. There’s no guarantee fans of BBC docs will follow the shows to their new home.